As this year draws to a close, so does my writing for recovery. This year was a significant milestone in both the passage of time since many of the events I’ve shared, and my therapy. I wanted to get everything out of the way by the end of the year, and I feel like I’ve accomplished that. We’re down to the wire right now publishing the last remaining bits on December 31st lol, but a goal is a goal no matter how close one gets to the dead line. I can’t say NOTHING will ever trigger a memory here or there as life goes on, but right now I’m in a very good place and hopefully I’ll be able to continue to move forward.
This is part of the dynamic between my ex and I that I wasn’t ready to emotionally accept until recently. I REMEMBER it happening, and on some level I understood, but due to all of the other highly emotional aspects of our time together it really didn’t sink in. They say Love is blind after all, and I did truly love the guy. A lot of the intensity surrounding our relationship was my undiagnosed PTSD and other emotional problems, but love was in there somewhere. I didn’t choose to be with him JUST because I couldn’t properly process the trauma, nor was it codependency as I could function just fine without him.
I have had a fair amount of trouble moving on in an emotional sense due to my PTSD. That’s the definition of the entire disorder. lol. If I hadn’t had trouble, I wouldn’t fit the diagnosis in the first place. So until I had my official diagnosis there has been a whole lot of writing surrounding our brief time together and our break up; but even as much as it occupied the back of my mind I never sat around pining away for him after the split. Hubs and I met a few months after I moved away from my hometown and everything that reminded me of my ex starting fresh. We started dating and life kept right on going. Yet even after I’ve been able to process all of the ugly things that happened, I can look back and think fondly of the good times. There were quite a few good times to be had, definitely outweighing the bad, and I loved them just as much as I loved him.
I never want speak to him again, (or see him for that matter, but my parents live fairly close. Even with out TRYING to run into him, it’s been notoriously difficult when visiting. I’ve given up avoiding it at this point) but that’s because he currently wants to watch me die a horrible violent death and has used just about every opportunity he’s received to tell me, and anyone else who will listen ALL about it. Not because of anything that happened when we were together.
I’m not thrilled with the fact that we never managed to work things out post break up, but now that it’s not so emotional I can at least accept it. We’ve crossed the point of no return. All the goodwill and humility will never undo the scars inflicted over our epic battle of wills. He will always panic, and flip over into mega defensive mode when we cross paths, and even though his rants and subsequent threats are completely unfounded they’ll always sting a little.
After the assault, and our casual hook up phase of the relationship when we started “officially dating” we had a discussion about our relationship. We hadn’t been official very long, and looking back on it I’m fairly certain the discussion was meant to be a break up, or at least he thought it would lead to me leaving him. It didn’t, and I’m not entirely sure why he didn’t end things himself if that had been his intention. Other than the fact that I still had very sensitive abandonment issues, which didn’t really give him much chance to talk before my mind jumped to the break up conclusion, causing me to freak out, and run outside in an absolute panic, crying. He followed me out, calmed me down, and eventually we were able to finish our conversation. I was still bawling the entire time, but once I was calm enough to listen to what he actually had to say I was kind of flattered that he took the time to do the right thing and be completely honest with me about issues he had only alluded to before.
It was during this discussion that he finally opened up with me about his head trauma, recent divorce and how gravely that each event had affected him. He didn’t give me the specific dates, the way he spoke it sounded like it had been years prior to our friendship and relationship. In fact all of it had occurred mere months before we met. I discovered that on my own after he tried to file a false harassment claim against me (one of those unfounded threats) and I pulled up his public record. Oddly enough even though he didn’t live there when it happened, the traffic accident leading to his injury occurred in the same county which he tried to file the report in. I just wanted to see if he had any pending litigations, because the police officer I spoke to regarding the matter was less than helpful when I told him I was 200 miles outside of his jurisdiction. Instead I found the date and outcome of my ex’s accident hearing. I’m not entirely sure why it ended up all the way in court, but it did.
I also don’t know if knowing the specific dates would have made much difference during our time together, because I was just starting to explore the world of psychology at that point, nor was treatment for traumatic brain injury, or trauma in general as developed as it is now. He was doing the best he could given the circumstances and tools provided to him, and I did the best I could to understand what he was trying to explain to me. I probably would have been a bit more patient if I had known how recently his life had fallen apart. I know if someone told me KNOW what he told me THEN I certainly would take a different approach to things. At any rate, it didn’t happen that way. He didn’t tell me the dates, and I wasn’t as educated on the subject as I am now.
What he did tell me is that he cared about me, more than just a casual hook up. He loved me, but he wasn’t IN LOVE with me. The depth of his feelings for me weren’t the same as my feelings for him, and he didn’t think it was fair. That’s when he told me the extent of his injury. I thought he was just being metaphorical when he described himself as someone else, a foreigner in his own body, unsure of who this new person was going to be, but in fact he was being quite literal. The way he smashed his head through the windshield damaged the part of his brain responsible for his emotional processing and personality among other things. He really had no idea who he was, or who he was going to be after he completely recovered. The split presence in his personality is a reflection of that. It’s not truly two separate personalities, so much as it is a short circuit from one emotional response to the next.
He also explained that he never felt an all consuming love at first sight infatuation for me, which is what he really wanted to have in regards to a life partner. His parents had met on a blind date and immediately knew they were meant to be together. He was looking for the same that feeling. We were after the very same thing. I completely understood what he was trying to tell me about “The One”, because I had found it in him. Life had just kept throwing us together, and I was always instantly attracted to him. For whatever reason, whether it was his injury or something else our feelings never did sync. He simply didn’t feel that way for me, even as strongly as I felt it for him.
Yet, because I was so adamant about my feelings towards him he was willing to stay together and give it a try. Once again relating to his head injury and recent divorce, he wasn’t exactly paying attention when we first started dating, and he didn’t want to miss out on his opportunity with “The One” simply because of circumstances. He just wanted me to know that he didn’t feel like he was ready for a serious relationship at that moment, and didn’t want me to get hurt. He said he didn’t feel like I was “the One” nor was he sure he ever would. It was very admirable, honestly. Proof that even with all of his infidelity, sporadic abusive behavior, lack of consistent empathy, night terrors, delusional tendencies, and inappropriate emotional response to certain scenarios there is a small nugget of a nobel heart left in there somewhere.
I told him I understood that he couldn’t offer me the same level of affection, but as long as he was getting his life back together and willing to try I was willing to stay by his side regardless of whether he was ever truly able to recover or become what he described as “himself” again. I did hear what he said, and I was willing to learn about his various struggles, but the severity of the situation bounced right off of me. Here he was confessing his crimes against me, giving me the opportunity to leave so he wouldn’t hurt me anymore, and I’m just like: “Oh, no it’s okay. I love you.” I think he knew that I didn’t really get it at that particular moment, because through the remainder of our time together he kept questioning me, my intentions while staying with him, and everything in-between.
Plus, there was probably a certain level of guilt, knowing how much he had actually hurt me and watching me bumble along in denial/love. Or whatever he is capable of feeling in place of guilt, because that’s all tied in with his injury. It was probably logic telling him not to get invested in me because one day I would realize just exactly what had happened, turn on him, or abandon him. He was always a big fan of logic, which was really all he had left to interact with the world after being robbed of his sense of self.
Unfortunately, love is completely illogical and I was very much in love with him. It drove him absolutely bananas that I could never figure it out while we were together, and even to a certain extent after we broke up. (Hence the epic battle of wills) I did get pretty mean and vindictive there for a while as I was navigating the post relationship realm. I was hurting. Not an excuse to be mean and vindictive, I know, but it’s not like I can travel back in time and unsay/undo the hurtful things I said/did. Just as I’ve finally realized that all of the problems we ever encountered in our relationship from the first day we worked together until the day I hung up on him after two hours of circular argument about my blogging are directly related to his injuries. Every single one of them.
Even though I didn’t completely understand, I chose to stay with him, keeping my word that as long as he was trying to get better the rest of it was irrelevant. I stayed, through all of the other women, the night terrors, the mood swings, and the abuse. He was getting better, our relationship was growing with each check point he achieved in putting his life back together and figuring himself out, but there was always something preventing him from taking the next step. We often talked about marriage, had a super brief engagement, and tried to conceive a child, but it wasn’t meant to be. We did conceive a few times, but it always seemed to catch us off guard. The few months where we were ACTUALLY trying resulted in nothing, and the only other times we managed to conceive he either didn’t remember being with me mistaking me for his ex wife ,(more fallout from his injury) or it was an accident as the only method of birth control we ever employed relied completely on him. They all ended in miscarriage, which turned out to be a blessing considering everything that happened after we split up.
Ugh… see at this point in the story I could regale you with details of the longest most dramatic break up in recent history, but I’m not going to do that. I’ve talked about it before, and there is nothing to gain picking at old wounds equally inflicted on both sides. He said and did stupid things, I said and did stupid things, his then new girlfriend, now wife and I got into a cyber war of epic proportions that might never end as long as I keep blogging, and it’s just been a mess of one thing after another setting either one of us off, up until this past year when I finished my therapy and began to publish my final writings on the matter. Now that I’ve dealt with all the emotional aspects of everything, my triggers have become more of an annoyance than a real debilitating issue even though they are still present. They probably always will be since the entire hoopla just keeps on going round and round.
Emotions have clouded this for ages, but the reality of the matter is we both entered into the relationship knowing exactly what we were doing, accepted it, and were relatively content with the way things were. On some level we needed each other, and our dysfunctional relationship to figure ourselves and where we were going in life out. I know I truly loved him, and he might have in some capacity liked me, but we were only holding each other back. We did go through a lot together, yet our time was always meant to be limited. He always knew, and he kept trying to tell me, but I wasn’t ready to hear it.
Can you blame me, growing up in a society that is obsessed with love at first sight, Hollywood romance, and fairy tale happy endings? He wasn’t the first guy I dated, but he was my first true love. According to all the story books and movies we should have ended up living happily ever after, but we didn’t.
Now, as I’ve grown up and broadened my horizons, I’ve realized sometimes the most important, influential people in your life are only meant to be there for a season. It doesn’t make them less important, it doesn’t make your feelings for them any less valid. It’s simply the way things are supposed to be to prepare you for the next chapter of your life.